Child-care quality doesn’t depend on arbitrary numbers

Ontario's new standards have raised the hackles of activists. They should look hard at the systems they mistakenly believe are better

Child-care quality doesn’t depend on arbitrary numbersIt's been called shocking and disgusting. The Ontario government is moving to change how many children independent child-care providers can care for. The new rules allow three children under two instead of two (not counting the provider’s own children over age four). An independent care provider can look after no more than five children at…

Temper your confidence in the science that runs your life

Trust requires consistency and transparency. It must be understandable. And we need regulations that protect the public

Temper your confidence in the science that runs your lifeThe big success stories of our time have scaled at exponential rates – Facebook, Amazon, Apple and the other ‘super bigs’ relentlessly enlarge themselves. When something scales, however, the mix of characteristics, benefits, and costs of a business or organization may scale with it. In contemporary life, the tools that business, research and social interaction…

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishable

Gillette has stepped boldly into the socio-political minefields of #MeToo, bullying, spousal abuse and male self-absorption

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishableIt’s tempting to take the recent’s ‘controversy’ over the Gillette shaving company’s new advertising campaign at something less than face value. For starters, controversy itself is no longer the conversational cutting edge it once was. In this era of fake-versus-false news, universal short attention spans and ludicrous overstatement as the entry price for even being…

There’s a place for religion in common and public life

At a time of heightened social divisions and isolation, not to mention divisive politics, religious illiteracy is costly

There’s a place for religion in common and public lifeChristmas often brings out the best in Canadians. We dig into our pockets for charity a little more. We volunteer more. And we make more time for friends and family than at other times of the year. But the holiday sometimes brings out our weirder side, too – especially when it comes to Canadian hang-ups…

Shop local: the value of an enriched human nudge

To make shopping local the norm, we need to think less about transaction efficiency and more about enjoyment

Shop local: the value of an enriched human nudgeChances are you’ve seen or heard some sort of promotion about the value of shopping local – especially with so many of us in gift-buying mode now. Business improvement areas, chambers of commerce and other organizations tell us when we buy from shops near home, we’re voting for our community. The logic is generally sound…

Religious freedom benefits everyone

But hard secularism and the marginalization of some Canadians are reducing our deep pluralism and chipping away at our freedoms

Religious freedom benefits everyoneIt’s a safe bet that Asia Bibi – a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges in Pakistan but still facing mob violence – would say religious freedom makes Canada a better country. Indeed, it’s because Canada enjoys religious freedom that this country may even grant her asylum. Chances are that Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Burma or…

Canadians have forgotten what marriage is and why it matters

As studies show that we're delaying or choosing not to get married, we need to recognize the overwhelming value of marriage

Canadians have forgotten what marriage is and why it mattersDating apps abound – and the new Facebook Dating is getting into the game in Canada – but all the technology in the world hasn’t changed a significant social trend: Young adults are the forefront of dwindling and delayed marriage in Canada. Even increasing common-law relationships haven’t picked up the slack. Young Canadian adults are…

Uber’s utter disrespect for social and business norms

The economic benefits of demolishing a monopoly business practice aren’t worth the environmental and human costs

Uber’s utter disrespect for social and business normsUber is embroiled in public controversy yet again with its Twitter release of an embarrassing dash-cam video of Ottawa Senators players mocking a coach while using the ride-sharing service. The tweet of the private conversation, captured on Oct. 29 when the National Hockey League team was between games in Las Vegas and Arizona, has reportedly…

Independent schools should be encouraged, funded in Ontario

A survey shows that independent school graduates are much more likely to work for the common good. How can that be bad?

Independent schools should be encouraged, funded in OntarioBy Doug Sikkema and Dr. Beth Green Cardus More than six per cent of children in Ontario are enrolled in independent (non-public) schools. In the 1960s, such independent school enrolments made up a mere 1.8 per cent of the student population. Six per cent might not seem like much, but the long-term trend in Ontario…

Make room for religious diversity in the workplace

Banning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols would show obstinate and dangerous secularism

Make room for religious diversity in the workplaceBanning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols, as premier-designate François Legault intends to do, would be socially regressive. Imposing this kind of flinty and obstinate secularism squashes the very diversity most politicians claim to value and support. It’s also out of step with the growing awareness among the business community that religious diversity…

How can we discuss sex ed without talking about marriage?

Marriage understands shared existence, including the economic, spiritual, social and sexual aspects of our lives

How can we discuss sex ed without talking about marriage?With the Ontario government’s public consultations on a new sex-ed curriculum well underway, we should recognize that both the old and new versions of the document suffer from the same fatal flaw. Neither makes any effort to educate about marriage – in fact, the word is never mentioned – as a significant social institution. The…

A commitment to diversity must include room for faith

Religious and faith communities are among the most racially and ethnically diverse parts of Canadian society

A commitment to diversity must include room for faithDepending on political preference, most Canadians would likely agree that diversity is our strength or is a product of our strength. Regardless of the preferred permutation, those views recognize diversity as a central feature of Canadian society. That’s all well and good, but what does that commitment to diversity really mean? A quick scan of…

Why the CFL’s Diversity is Strength campaign falls short

Diversity separated from unity is generally not a good thing. We need unity of purpose, on the field and in life

Why the CFL’s Diversity is Strength campaign falls shortDiversity concerns have been front and centre in recent days. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterized a woman’s view as “racist” after she heckled him; Maxime Bernier criticized “extreme multiculturalism” before he left the Conservative Party to set up his own. Rhetoric about diversity can be both heated and so routine as to be boilerplate, obscuring…

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common good

Beware the arrogance of the new age. Attempting to cleanse history is a fool’s or, worse, a tyrant’s errand

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common goodIn the interest of righting a genuine and grave historic wrong – the suffering of our Indigenous peoples – the historical hubris of our present Canadian age is distorting history yet again. Enter the City of Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald. In removing his statue from in front of Victoria City Hall, the denizens…

Compelled speech compromises basic rights

If the Canada Summer Jobs precedent holds, soon other government agencies will mix public funds and political preferences

Compelled speech compromises basic rightsIn a crucial free speech ruling recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the constitution in that country prohibits forcing people to say what they don’t believe. Here in Canada, a young Ottawa lawyer upped the ante recently by filing a Federal Court lawsuit arguing that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right…
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